Xohm: Comcast Throttling Redux?

Dan Frommer at Silicon Alley Insider is less impressed with the debut of Sprint's Xohm network in Baltimore Sept. 29 than he is concerned about how Sprint will manage its new WiMax network. In fact, he fears Sprint is heading down the same road that got Comcast in such hot water: throttling network traffic.

Frommer points out that Sprint's "acceptable use and network management" policy states, "To ensure a high-quality experience for its entire subscriber base, XOHM may use various tools and techniques designed to limit the bandwidth available for certain bandwidth intensive-applications or protocols, such as file sharing."

Frommer's interpretation: "If we feel like choking BitTorrent, or Limewire, or Vonage, or Skype or whatever, we're allowed to."

Free Press, the group that led the fight at the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to have Comcast's throttling policy declared a violation of the agency's network neutrality policy, was equally startled about Sprint's policy when informed of it by On the Mark.

"We are very troubled by this development and the larger moves across the wireless industry to limit consumer access to the legal content and services of their choice," said Ben Scott, policy director at Free Press. "We hope that Sprint will quickly disclose exactly what tools and techniques it plans to use and demonstrate why it is necessary to maintain a closed network when consumers demand an open Internet."

Sprint did not respond to a request for comment.